EDMONTON – Adarius Bowman scored a hat-trick of majors in the second half to help guide the Edmonton Eskimos to their third-straight win, 27-11 over the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
The Eskimos offence was stymied by the REDBLACKS defence in the first half, but after only scoring a pair of points in the first 30 minutes, came out in the second half and scored 23 points to send Ottawa home searching for their first victory.
Bowman finished the game with nine recpetions and 140 yards, while Eskimos quaterback Mike Reilly went 22-of-33 for 256 yards and three touchdown passes in the game.
To begin the game, Ottawa received the opening kick and quickly went two and out, which began a trend for the opening half.
It took five series’ for a team to finally move the chains, where the REDBLACKS were able to secure a first down via a unnecessary roughness penalty on the Eskimo defence.
Both defences had the upper hand against the opposing offence inthe early parts of the contest. It took the Eskimos three drives to finally solve the REDBLACKS defence.
Reilly and the Eskimos were able to sustain a drive by gaining three straight first downs, but the REDBLACKS were able to make the Eskimos stall and had to settle with a Grant Shaw single from 47 yards out to give the Eskimos the early lead.
On Ottawa’s seventh possession, Henry Burris found Chevon Walker, who made his way up field and turned what appeared to be a short reception into a 65-yard touchdown to give the REDBLACKS the 7-1 lead midway through the second quarter.
Walker to this point in the game had accounted for three of the REDBLACKS’ four franchise touchdowns.
With just over two minutes to go in the half, the hometown Eskimos were looking to take the lead. Reilly led the Eskimos on a 8-play 62-yard drive to set up Shaw for a 36-yard field goal for the final play in the half. Shaw was unsuccessful, but the Eskimos added a point to end the half.
The REDBLACKS went into the locker room with a 7-2 lead.
With the defence having the upper-hand in the game, the first half stats weren’t typical for Burris or Reilly.
Burris finished the half with 5-of-11 passing for 46 yards, while Reilly went 11-for-20 for 116 yards and also rushed the ball on seven occasions for 47 yards.
To kickoff the second half, the Eskimos offence looked ready to begin where they left off late in the second quarter.
Reilly came out firing in the second half, finding Nate Coehoorn for 31 yards and then Bowman for five yards. On the fourth play, Reilly found Bowman for a 41-yard touchdown to give the home crowd something to cheer about to giv the Esks a 10-7 lead.
It was then at Edmonton was able to find it’s rhythm offensively.
After Edmonton registered another single, Ottawa began to gain some momentum thanks to a 16-yard punt return by Jamill Smith to set the REDBLACKS up in Eskimo territory.
But after Burris found Kierrie Johnson for a first down, the REDBLACKS were unable to get another, which set up a Brett Maher 49-yard field goal attempt, that he pushed wide right, resulting in a single to cut the lead to three, 11-8.
Reilly and the Eskimos looked to respond and extend their lead at home on the next drive. After a pass interference call moved the Eskimos 26 yards up field, Reilly found Bowman four plays later for a 30-yard touchdown reception, his second in the half and game. This extended Edmonton’s lead to 18-8.
The REDBLACKS, knowing they needed to match the pace of the Eskimos offence and add points, quickly went for a third and short play with backup quarterback Thomas Demarco, but the attempt was ill-fated, as the Eskimos stuffed and swarmed him to force the turnover on downs.
With the turnover, the Eskimos started the ball deep in Ottawa territory. With only 25 yards separating the Eskimos to the REDBACKS end zone, it only took Reilly five plays to get the major, finding Bowman for his third touchdown in the game, coming from only a yard away to give the home team a 25-8 advantage.
On Edmonton’s ensuing possession, Burris, knowing the team needed points quickly led the offence on to the field. The veteran was able to put together three first downs and looked primed to find the end zone, but an Almondo Sewell sack derailed the drive and the REDBLACKS settled for a 34-yard field goal that Maher hit to make deficit 25-11.
After a great punt by Shaw put the ball on the Ottawa one-yard line, Marcus Howard sacked the REDBLACKS quarterback for a safety to up the lead to 27-11.
The team’s will have their rematch in Week 8 when Edmonton visits Ottawa.
Next week, Ottawa will play in their home opener in the new TD Place against the Toronto Argonauts, while Chris Jones’ Edmonton Eskimos will face the undefeated Blue Bombers in Winnipeg.